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Natas Coats, a freestyler from Santa Maria, California, has committed to swim and study at the United States Military Academy West Point, joining the class of 2027.
“It’s an honor to announce my verbal commitment to Army West Point to continue my education and athletics. I appreciate the many coaches, teachers, and friends that have helped me get here. Go Army!”
Coats is a senior at Ernest Righetti High School and competes year-round for Santa Maria Swim Club. He competes primarily as a mid-distance freestyler, trending into distance freestyle. Coats had a great NCSA Spring Championship meet in March 2022, setting bests in his 200, 500, 1000, and 1650-yard freestyles. His highest placing events were his 1000-yard free and his mile, touching 21st in both timed finals with times of 9:25.17 and 15:42.84, respectively. He also placed 106th in the 200-yard free (1:43.41) and 34th in the 500-yard free (4:34.97).
Best Times SCY:
- 100 free — 48.13
- 200 free — 1:43.41
- 500 free — 4:34.97
- 1000 free — 9:25.17
- 1650 free — 15:42.84
The Army Black Knights have a pretty deep field in the sprint freestyle events up to the 200-yard freestyle. However, from the 500-yard freestyle upwards they have very little depth. Army was second to Navy at the 2022 Patriot League Conference Championships, losing the legendary rivalry mostly due to Navy’s depth in the distance free. Historically, Navy has absolutely dominated the Patriot League — they have won the last eighteen championship titles in a row. Army has been narrowing the gap, however; at the 2022 championships, they lost to Navy narrowly by 133.5 points, versus their 374.5 point defeat in 2020 (no conference meet in 2021). Army men also beat Navy in their annual dual meet in December 2022, 192-108.
Most notably, Navy took the top three places in the 500-yard freestyle while Army only had 3 finalists total in the event. Army had a similar issue in the mile, where junior Ian Tansill won in a school record of 14:57.60 and sophomore Wes Tate placed third but there was only one other Army swimmer in the whole event.
Given Coats trends into distance freestyle more than sprint, he’ll be adding to Army’s much-needed depth in those events. With his current bests, Coats would have placed 26th in the 200-yard freestyle, 16th in the 500-yard free, and 9th in the mile, just out of the finals heat.
Coats will join fellow Californians Thomas Hadji and Joey Chang, as well as Nebraskan Kalvin Hahn for the class of 2027.
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Yeah I mean they only went 1-2-3 in the 1000 at the star meet, they should totally be going 1-2-3-4 and desperately needed some distance depth here
Definitely appreciate the effort put in to this article, but considering Army went 1-2-3 at the Army/Navy dual meet in the 1000 and the 500 “much needed depth” is a bit of an exaggeration.
Either way, huge congratulations to Natas! A great adventure ahead of you.